Hey there. You haven’t heard from me in awhile.
But I’ve been thinking of you. Creepy jokes aside, I actually think about things to write for this newsletter on most days. Some ideas are quickly dismissed, others forgotten. This month, two ideas took root, and even made it as far as first drafts, before I summarily decided they were terrible and killed them.
Instead of creating, I consumed lots of books, TV shows and articles.
Of note, I discovered and finished Saga – a brilliant, beautiful and hard-hitting comic book series. I have to admit that I was disappointed to realise that it has a very American white male perspective and it stubbornly maintains that for pretty much all its characters despite the comic spanning generations, species and solar systems. I ordinarily wouldn’t have noticed this had it not been for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Let me be clear, I loved reading Saga, and enjoyed the author’s voice tremendously. But that does make me wonder if that, in itself, is a problem. It’s interesting to consider how much popular culture, told through the WEIRD lens, we unwittingly and happily consume.
Speaking of sci-fi and BLM, and to draw you away from my Saga detour and back to the topic of me not writing this newsletter for a month…
I had the idea to write a lengthy, well-researched post on sci-fi and xenophobia. I thought it’d be my contribution to the current political climate.
Then I chickened out.
Writing something like that would be a big undertaking, and I’m not sure I’d be able to give the topic the respect and quality it deserves.
I was clearly trying to compensate for my delay. But the more I mulled over my newsletter, the more pressure I put on myself to write something good.
Pretty soon, a month had passed, and I still hadn’t written anything.
Today it finally occurred to me that I was overthinking it.
As I contemplated what to write about, during one of my COVID-1.9km runs, I realised my error.
Once I realised I was overthinking things, I went in the opposite direction and tried to narrow my scope instead. That is, rather than try to write an overcompensating magnum opus, I tried to come up with the smallest topic I’d be satisfied with writing about.
Then it occurred to me that I could simply write about overthinking. 🤣
I think we could all benefit from a little less worrying and a little more focus.
For me, this means publishing a decent newsletter, instead of trying to write the best thing evarrrr.
For you, that might be writing a clear email, instead of the most comprehensive yet charismatic email in the world.
Or launching that personal project you’ve been working on for months but are secretly worried is not good enough. So you keep tinkering with diminishing returns.
For me, focusing on the smallest thing I needed to do to accomplish my goal proved to be all it took to set the rest in motion.
And I suspect it’ll be the same for you.
Don’t overthink it!
Fresh From the Interwebz
This sounds like a pipe dream, but these business owners built their bakery around their ambition to always take holidays every summer. And by that I mean, full switched off and separated from working on or thinking about their business. The key takeaways for me are that you have to have this as a core value from day one, trust and empower your employees, be okay if crazy shit happens; and create systems that actually enable you to do this. Link to article →
I was educated by this article on Christian Cooper, the bird-watching guy who was part of the catalyst for BLM. Still learning. Link to article →
Apparently, the third quarter of isolation is a thing. First discovered in 1980s while studying astronauts, and further studied in Antarctic research stations in 2000. We’ve now entered the third quarter of COVID-19 and this is where mood and morale reach our lowest point. (Although, I suspect some people/countries might be in the 4th quarter now) Link to article →